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Men are experiencing double jeopardy when it comes to depression, being at high risk but unable to seek help for their problem. To address this we asked (1) “Why do men not use depression-related health services?” and (2) “How can governments better reach, support, and treat depressed men?”. We conducted an evidence review using a framework developed by Arskey & O’Malley (2005). Embase, MEDLINE and PsychINFO were used to find articles published from 1st January 1997 to 31st June 2017. We used a systematic search strategy to identify evidence concerning men’s engagement with health services in the context of depressive disorder and then employed a thematic analysis framework developed by Braun & Clark (2006), to chart data and summarize results. Eighteen publications were reviewed, including qualitative studies, quantitative studies, and literature reviews. The recommendations from the papers was synthesized into a ‘Depression Care Optimization Modality’ consisting of three aspects of depression care (literacy, accessibility, and efficacy) and three key stakeholders (men, the general public, and the national healthcare system). It is the first systematic attempt to formulate a gender-sensitive modality to guide efforts to optimize depression care for men. The modality can be used to guide governments’ endeavor to close the depression care gap and improve the quality of life for men, as well as a stepping stone to design more rigorous studies in the field.


Working paper